File photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Calm has been restored under a heavy police presence in Samora Machel, Philippi, after residents vandalised and looted a supermarket and other small shops in the area on Sunday.

Police said yesterday 30 people involved in the unrest were arrested by Operation Lockdown members, while the bodies of two people - a 32-year-old female and an unknown male - were recovered inside the looted store.

Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said: “Police intervention saw a total of 25 people arrested for looting a local chain grocery store, where extensive damage was caused.

‘‘Several smaller shops were also targeted by protesting community members. An additional five people were arrested for being in possession of groceries and a deep freezer when houses were searched in the area.

“The suspects are all due to make their respective court appearances in Athlone this week. During the protest action, two fatalities were reported. 

"The bodies of a 32-year-old female and an unknown male were recovered on the premises of the looted store. The circumstances surrounding their deaths are currently under investigation.”

Operation Lockdown and additional police deployments would remain on high alert in the area to prevent any further incidents of violence, Traut added.

Community leader Xolani Joja said the area was calm following the deployment of more police.

“The small shop owners who were affected by the looting have left the area and the protesters have showed no sign of coming back again.

‘‘There is high visibility of police in the area but you never know, because during the week they will just lay low but we don’t know what will happen on the weekend. This is why we need high police visibility in the area every day,” Joja said.

A resident who asked to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation said the looting was affecting the community and residents had to walk far to get groceries.

“I usually buy from the small shops every morning to prepare school lunch boxes for my children but now after the incident I have to travel a long distance to buy small stuff from other shops because those near me are closed.”

Meanwhile, police spokesperson Novela Potelwa denied claims of xenophobic attacks and looting in Bellville.

“Bellville police were called out to an incident where two men were involved in a fight at the Middestad Mall this afternoon (yesterday).

‘‘The situation was quickly resolved. Currently the situation remains calm.”

Cape Times